Local Business’s opening lyrics are: “Okay, I think by now we’ve established that everything is inherently worthless, and there’s nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose.” It’s grim to read, but when performed it sounds like life-affirming rock 'n' roll meant to crush such existential dread. Patrick Stickles has a lot to say, and he’s not afraid to bare his own insecurities and personal frustrations while he’s at it. Eating disorders, consumerism, nihilism, and the absurdities of human nature are explored from various angles. Yet Stickles can pull it off and make his point of view thought-provoking, relatable, and even funny due to his odd mix of hopelessness and lust for life. Local Business, Titus Andronicus' third full-length, isn't a concept album like the Civil War–themed The Monitor, but it's ambitious in its own right. Rather than featuring a large group of revolving musicians as before, here the band is stripped down to five members: three ragged, crunching guitars and a steady drum-and-bass rhythm section. The sound is tightened up and tough, with fist-pumping choruses and sharp tempo breaks. This is workingman’s punk delivered with a jolt.